Immortals, quasi-deities, and gods



I’m just curious how gods work in your setting/game. I’m just fishing for ideas and eager to see what ideas we have in common and where our ideas split.

Frankly I don’t see to have anymore an idea than:“They’re just immortal mortals that share their powers.” But that’s pretty much it.

How do cleric “work” in your game, if it is any different from D&D?

How does death and the afterlife affect your characters/work? I feel that is a particular aspect forgotten by GMs but then again I haven’t played with it too much in my games either so that is a poor accusation!

Let’s get this show on the road!

God Speid! o7


Who is the target of the question, players or GMs? And I am guessing fantasy settings?

Never been successful in getting the players to play this way, but the gods are forces of nature.

Benevolente ones, too spread thin to do much of consequence, other then block the power hungry.

But well thought out help and a whisper in the right ear at the right time can move mountains type thing is how it is typically for me.


For the GMs!

Could you elaborate? This sound interesting!


In my games, a god would have to be something else than “just” a powerful being sharing their power.

For example, I think that clerical miracles should not come from the deity itself (at least not in any direct transaction). Instead, the divine aspect would come from religious institutions that legitimize and canonize them (or label them witchery).

So, in my current campaign, the only true clerical power is excommunication, or more generally: deny access to something based on morals. In game mechanics, the cleric must find three witnesses of equal or higher social standing to cast blame, and then make a judgement which becomes socially true. Like, if they say “you are now dead” the person isn’t dead in the literal sense, but people start acting as if they were which might eventually cause them to die.


Could you elaborate on the following subjects:

  • Powers do not come directly from the deity itself? Where is the energy from?
  • I imagine it’s a bit like the Orks from Warhammer, in a way?
  • What is a deity, then? :smiley:


What an interesting question (or series of)!

To my mind, deities have always fallen between naturally occurring personified forces of the universe, and beings generated out of belief. I think it’s possible for multiple deities to derive from a single being, sort of fractured through the prism of belief, and I don’t think it’s important for that to be clearly parsed out or understood, even by the GM. In my world, there are poly-theists and mono-theists, and the sacred magic of each group works equally well, and appears equally true - even while contradicting the other.

I think the important thing is that faith is shown to have an impact in the world, and that it is expressed through habits of behavior. Patrons - which would be deity-like beings, have a more transactional relationship, requiring the accomplishment of specific discreet tasks for specific discreet rewards.

I do try to disassociate as much as possible faith and its power from class or type, as it is not the purview of particular training, but is born out of a combination of behavior and the belief that said behavior is noticed, and has an affect upon the world.

I hope that helps.


Awhile back I had a collection of magic patron ideas shared by myself and the community you might find inspiration from.

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

@Kindred compiled them into neat to read PDFs Here


Good questions.
I guess what I’m trying to get away from is the tit-for-tat exchange between deity and follower, which to me seems anything but religious.

Therefore, I tend to favour that powers just exist, much like other abilities just exist. I realize there is a difference in magnitude, but a +1 to hit or a spell are both things that don’t strictly need a justification to be part of the setting, as long as everyone recognize that they are.

From this perspective, a deity would be a being that is assumed to hold power in ways that are not understood (so you infer existence and/or power from something inexplicable). If there is a known being, with known powers, it would just be a monster, or a king, or somesuch.


Sorry to disappoint, it’s just a simple concept I’ve not been able to impart to my players well.

In any Fantasy setting there are Gods/Powers. Full stop.

Saying that you are an atheist or even agnostic, is like saying there is no wind, or nothing lives under the waves.
Or in the case of an agnostic, I don’t know what might be down there, or if anything is down there.

As to who the deities are….
They are at once a Meme not the internet thing, but the cultural thing. And a power with agency, goals, and a force of will. What they don’t have is hopes and dreams (usually).

We are talking theology, so logic is malleable.
Let’s make up a god or two…
Kesandra the goddess of motherhood.
For most, she represents birthing, sacrifice, maturity, hard lesson learned, soft encouraging scolding, maternal femininity.
In some areas, conservative/rural she also represents fertility and good crops/weather for the crops.
For very few (a town or an order), she represents the protection of the home, the protection of loved ones.

Brutica the god of righteous anger.
For most he represents punishment for wrongdoing. In some places that is the city guard, or the secret police. For others it’s an unusually effective fighting force. However for the “Initiated” he represents the force that gives people the fortitude to right wrongs.
In a few towns that suffered siege, and where able to repel land even defeat the assault without external help, become a Patron of the city.

Cities may have more than one Patroness, but usually one founding Patroness and several promoted patrons…some of the following having gained primacy in a city or region.

With those two gods you might start, or simply have a Pantheon. A complete religious philosophy. But the older an area is, the larger the Pantheon, until a singular faith comes into being. But I think that argument is best left off gaming at all costs (yes I know many gamers like making Monotheism the enemy of the world…but it’s a tiresome trope, and directed at the “Satanic Panic” that was stupid in the first place, no reason to add fuel to the fire.

Anyway, back to topic at hand. You have Kasandra and Brutica. And you might have the idea that this provides a complete philosophy or at least a synergistic philosophy, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t. However, these two entities with their limitations are the foundations of a societies social norms.
Strong family bonds, respect for rearing of children with strong lessons. But also the quest for righting any perceived wrong.
This would lead to family feuds. And as long as no new entities enter the picture, institutions need to be created to not allow the destruction of this society or new Powers need to come in.
Examples of institutions.
A judicial system, a priesthood to balance things, alternative philosophy.

But what of the two deities themselves???
They change with the times. But not on a scale that Player Characters might notice, but on a scale players might.
More sophisticated, more belligerent, more war like…

In most cases, (99.999%) of the cases, the locals follow the two gods, some with a preference, some with a hard preference. But on occasion a new or older version of one of the deities and their philosophy apear.

Perhaps Kisandra/Kesandra in a self sufficient town in a small Vale between mountain ranges became the All Mother. Not the incarnation of motherhood, but also of guardianship of the soul.

Her followers would view things differently, the goddess herself is both things, but for those who follow a more overall image of her, she would be very different.

As to the entity she thinks she is the same, but one group, expects a more martial/militant side of her disgust of the undead.

The people reflect this, they view any necromancy including calling on dead ancestors as blasphemy. But most might view comunication with ancestors as a gift of Kesandra.

The goddess herself does not see the difference. For one granting views into the ancestors thoughts, of good motherly love….at the same time, any necromancy of calling on the dead, as the worst of the worst and is no longer in her favor or protection.

As to beneficent gods being stretched thin, trying to do the most good for the most people is an equation that is hard to compute, so they are stretched to the max. However, a dream, a thought, an obsession in the mind of those already primed to follow is easy to manifest. An angelic being destroying the enemies of her followers is hard.

Inversely, a god/power who is only about their own aggrandizement/burning the world…they can be more focused. And those with wider influence but less zealotry try to be more subtle, cause they can be and they have a much wider net to do crowdsourcing.

Can a deities followers war with each other??? Sure!!! And different aspects may favor different sides throughout the conflict.

They may even favor one person above all others, but side with the opposite side in the conflict.

Gods and Powers are alien. It’s not just the long game, but their game is different. Who their followers are is not equal to those they influence. And who they influence is not limited to who follows them.

But their power might be influence by how absolutely some of their believers believe.

From a GM perspective, I want my PCs to have entities they follow, or at least favor. But I want them to follow many deities.

Perhaps the clerical orders are a societal norm.
The tiller god (god of food growth)
The fertility god ( god of procreation)
God of motherhood ( god of protection)
God of law ( god of keeping order and avoiding unnecessary violence)
God of death ( god of Shepard’s and of keeping souls from straying and keeping the dead from raising)
God of war ( god of renewing and spreading wealth)
God of voyages ( god that keeps travelers and innocent safe as well as the god of revelation who give insight to new things)

But the clerical orders might not follow what their deity is.
It is very easy for the clerics of the “God of Voyages” clergy to be inn keepers or Dock Workers…yet adventures to be the focus of the deity.


I feel like I’ve talked about this before in the forums ha.

If I’m not worldbuilding with the players, I tend to make deities a part if the tangible world, aspects of the nature of it. Like, the sun, the moon, the earth, the wind… I like the presence of the gods being a real thing, that makes them way more interactive.

A wizard can read spells under moon light for better understanding, a cleric might redirect the light of the sun into a dark cave, a druid might touch the earth and feel the mountain through the rocks and the streams… etc.

  • What is a deity, then? :smiley:


A deity can be, and is in my thinking (for games) the manifestation and the occasional incarnation of the cultural meme.

You can have “The Old God” as an entity that only entered the cultural subconscious a generation or two ago…but the entity gains the power of the Mantle and inhabits it as “The Old God”.

At my most logical explanation, Gods are extra-dimensional beings who flirt at best at understanding chronological order (except for Mother Time) they don’t exist with time as a concept.

It is their followers that bring them into being and represent their access to power, but the entity is not limited to its followers powers.

Example: Fugaría (Goddess of flame) originated as a peasant girl who used a small magic fire starting spell to combat goblins. When the magistrate of a nearby city learned of this, they had her burned on the pole, but she somehow disappeared from flames, never letting out a single scream.

Her legend grew, and all good things flame based got attributed to he ghost…a harth fire that quickly warms the whole house on a very cold night with only two small logs, a bond fire that killed all the mosquitoes around town!!!
Then someone asks the entity for help!!!
The goddess is formed by praise and petition, but the moment this new goddess reaches that moment the goddess has the mantle of the fire goddess.

Locally she knows every word witnessed by the flame, for all time…or at least for that culture.

One of the powers she grants (to certain of her followers) is the ability to hear what the flames have heard…some in the present, some in the past, some in the future.
Just on the distinction of those 3 powers, concepts of divining, seeing into the past, or seeing what a loved one or enemy is currently doing becomes possible.

Though certain enemies may never have flames near them (undead, ice creatures, water creatures…) so this deity has almost no influence or power there or against them. Her knowledge of them isn’t.

But because past things witnessed of the flame can be recalled by more than one, thus verified….that society has truth and fire intertwined, all trials are done before a fire, snuffing out the last flame in a home involves a ritual. All adherents carry a starter kit with them, her zealots carry lit embers in a special container to always have the flame with them.

As far as who she is??? Up to the GM and the players.


That’s some high-concept stuff @Paxx & @Nimlouth, how does it play in ICRPG or your own system?


As mentioned above…it doesn’t really play in my games, but it plays in my head while running a game.

It’s been a really long time since I ran a long term campaign, at that time I tried to minimize religion (Better to avoid), now I don’t mind going down that rabbit hole at all. But have so much less time, though I’m hoping to get a good group going in the next year or so.

I believe in modern gaming we have ignored institutions. Or simply have had them as the enemy. But in designing a fictional society, you need fictional institutions. The origin of the institutions might have nothing to do with the story, so no reason to flesh out.

But in the example of a diety above, (Fugaría) I came up with as I wrote it. Modeled after Briga in the Spell Monger series, but different as I tried not to steel it, so I thought of a different origin and concept.

But in a world where Gods Manifest or at least act blatantly through others…they have to be something…the GM should know or at least understand what the are.
The difference between a God and the Gods church and the Gods religion should be understood. The church and those of the institution that is the church have different motivations than the god. The institution of the religion has different meaning and motivations than the Church or the God or of the same religion 100 miles down river.

So far it has never played at my table, beyond my having it in my head while I run the game. Someone who honors Fugaría, along with 10 other gods, would be uncomfortable with someone urinating on a fire to put it out, the church might find it blasphemous, the religion might condemn it, and the Goddess might find it funny and insightful since she now knows exactly what was in the persons heart hours ago, as the urin touches the flame.
What the goddess does with that information??? Up to the GM at an appropriate time.